Love and War in the Pyrenees, By Rosemary Bailey

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The Independent Culture

When Rosemary Bailey and her husband moved to a semi-ruined monastery in the Pyrenees, she was given a set of love letters written by a French couple who had lived there 60 years earlier. Their plans for the future, not so very different from Bailey's own rural fantasies, were crushed by the outbreak of the war.

Inspired by the letters to investigate the area's wartime history, Bailey had to work hard to get information from the locals, still tight-lipped about the level of Nazi collaboration, both active and passive. Combining memoir, fact and storytelling, Bailey does an impressive job.